Under NEPA, agencies create their own implementing procedures that specify which agency actions or activities may require an environmental impact statement (EIS), an environmental assessment (EA), and which are categorically excluded from the need to conduct an EIS or an EA. Since APHIS issued the current guidance in 1995, there have been numerous advances in science and technology, and changes in how the Agency approaches pest and disease management. Many of the actions we currently take are not listed under any category. Today’s updates clarify and modify APHIS’ categories of action, and establish an environmental documentation process to use in emergencies. APHIS’ categories of action include: 1) actions requiring an EIS, 2) actions requiring an EA, and 3) categorical exclusion. New categorical exclusions are available for extending deregulations for genetically engineered organisms and minor modifications to facilities. We updated the examples for routine measures, research and development, and licensing and permitting.
The revisions will support APHIS’ Center for Veterinary Biologics’ (CVB) new streamlined process for licensing veterinary biologics and will lead to cost savings in this area. It is expected that the new NEPA process will improve the efficiency of licensing veterinary biologics.
In July 2016, APHIS published the proposed rule to amend its NEPA implementing procedures, then solicited and reviewed comments. The revised regulations take effect June 25, 2018, 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register.
This final rule is available at
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.